Poultry roulade, ballotine, galantine, stuffed bird, etc

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Jovidah

I'll make you a sponsor offer you can't refuse...
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
5,050
Reaction score
6,749
Location
Netherlands
Looking for inspiration for christmas on how to prep a fancier bird. Since I already know how to do the hard part (dissassembling the bird in multiple ways) I figured I'd do a course with a disassembled / reassembled bird. Think...


or


I've done the 'deboning chicken part' plenty of times so that's the easy part... but I've never actually stuffed any; I always just used it as a way to get a boneless slab of meat. So where I'm struggling is to come up with good ideas of 'what to actually put inside'.
The bird will most likely be something like pheasant or guinea fowl (so basically, better than chicken but not too gamey).

The major limitations:
-I don't have a food processor so making a proper farce is problematic.
-My mom won't eat cheese so... no cheese. Yes, I know, half the good recipes have feta or some other cheese inside and it's really annoying when you can't use cheese.
-Final prep ideally not too difficult, so I'm leaning towards the 2nd style of preparation so I can just sous-vide the whole thing and just finish it off in the oven.
-Will likely be prepped a day in advance but only be SV-ed on the day itself. So I'm not sure how 'safe' any stuffings based on minced meat would be.
-Will be combined with a salad that's ideally also on the lighter side; still making up the specifics - suggestions are welcome - but this is basically course 3 of a 5 to 6 course thing (next course is venison) and most of my family aren't big eaters.

Any bright ideas or suggestions?
 
Julia Child's turkey stuffing would work well. I did this last Christmas, and it was a hit. (I was a bit skeptical about stuffing the turkey with pork, but it works.) Obviously, for a chicken, you'll have to adjust quantities to something much less, probably a quarter at most.



I would strongly suggest to not do what he did and just add fat to the ground meat. The meat will only become greasy that way and not have the right texture. If you can't get back fat, use a piece of fatty pork belly instead. Grind that fairly coarsely (6 mm plate) or chop it up finely, preferably with a Chinese cleaver, so you keep some texture.

Second tip: get a jar of baked chestnuts and mash part of them into a paste, then chop some of them into small (3-4 mm) pieces and mix that into the stuffing. Plus add some fresh chopped marjoram as well. Heavenly! :)
 
I've actually considered making an improvised farce by plucking confit legs (of whatever bird), and just mixing that up with an egg... but I have no clue whether that'd actually work. But at least it wouldn't be dry!

Forgot to add to the limitations: don't have a grinder either. But I can of course cut stuff finely...and then just knead it a bit by hand. Did that last time and as a 'poor man's farce' it actually worked fairly well.
 
Forgot to add to the limitations: don't have a grinder either. But I can of course cut stuff finely...and then just knead it a bit by hand. Did that last time and as a 'poor man's farce' it actually worked fairly well.
Not a problem. Get fine mince and chop the fat/belly by hand. It is nice to have some texture in the stuffing.
 
Try this. No special equipment needed.
You can always add spices to add more Christmas flavour. I chose to prepare it non-alcoholic.
PS: Degrees Centigrade, not Fahrenheit

Orange Spice Chicken

1 Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan oven: 180 degrees). Peel the treated orange with a sharp knife so thickly that the white skin is removed. Cut the pulp into cubes. Peel and dice 1 onion. Chop 2 rosemary sprigs. Mix everything with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Rub chicken with salt and fill with the orange pulp mixture. Tie the legs with kitchen twine.

Peel remaining onions and cut into eighths. Rinse organic oranges with hot water, grate dry, cut into wedges (remove peel if desired). Peel off the garlic. Roughly chop the remaining rosemary and thyme. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a roasting pan and fry the onions, garlic and herbs in it. Halve the plums and figs and add them to the roasting pan with the orange wedges, cinnamon and anise. Salt, pepper.

Ingredients

for 4 servings
3 oranges (including 2 organic)
3 onions
4-5 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
6-9 tbsp olive oil
1 large chicken
4-5 cloves of garlic
100 g each of dried figs and plums (I chose mango and dates instead)
3 cinnamon sticks
3 pcs anise
50 ml vermouth/ other
350ml dry white wine or broth
1 tablespoon honey

Deglaze with vermouth, pour in the wine and stock. Place the chicken in with the breast facing up. Mix the remaining oil (2-3 tablespoons) with honey and brush the chicken with it. Bake the chicken in the oven for about 60 minutes (or longer, depending on size), brushing it 2 or 3 times with the olive oil mixture. If necessary, add a little more white wine or water. Remove cinnamon and anise. Serve chicken with sauce, fruits and vegetables.
 
Sautéed mushrooms with onion, garlic and sage. Maybe a couple strips of prosciutto...
This was also my first thought... Just fill it up with a duxelle, maybe some dried ham. The problem is that I'd basically be doing a repeat of last year when I made a venison wellington with a mushroom-chestnut duxelle and rolled in dried ham and pastry dough. Which was absolutely awesome and highly recommendable... but I'm trying to a 'no next year repeat' rule. :D

My fall back plan is to try something with mushroom, spinach, maybe some meat mixed in, but everytime I make something like that it's almost impossible to eat it without thinking 'this would be even better with feta'.
I'd almost be tempted to do individual quails to get around that problem, but that's just too much work. I deboned quails in the past, yes it's possible, but if I have to do 7 of those I know I'll just hate myself afterwards.
 
So I did a first experimental run, mostly based on that Jules Cooking technique where you disassemble the whole thing. Actually disassembling it like that isn't entirely straightforward... this time I tried to debone the whole thing while keeping the skin intact, I think it's easier to do what I did last time: pull the skin off and then just debone normally.

Outer layer is the breasts, inner layer is the legs & thighs, I added 4 wild duck confit legs to add some extra oompf, pistachios, green apple, dried apricot and thyme.

The main lesson learnt was to not overdo it with the extras...especially the pistachio. It adds too much bulk (couldnt even fit all the filling inside), and too much pistachio doesn't help the texture. The apricot was great though. Going to do another trial run where I'll put dried cranberries instead of the apple.
Also going to try a version where I don't bother with keeping the skin intact, just debone it, and wrap it all in serrano ham instead.

Another lesson learnt: after SVing the whole thing, you really want to dry it off before frying it. Actually got burnt quite a bit because of the violent splatters.

Combined it with a raspberry sauce... basically just frozen raspberries reduced with some stock, black pepper and cinnamon. Still needs a bit of tweaking but it has potential. Thinking of simply leaving the stock out, all it really did was dillute the raspberry flavor.

The whole thing was surprisingly light - which was exactly what I was going for. I'm pretty much settled for the accompanying salad; spinach, fennel, conference pear and small chunks of mango in a dressing of lemon + mango syrup.

Not the best picture (I prefer to focus on eating instead of fiddling with my phone), but while there's definitly room for improvement I'm not too unhappy about the result of the first attempt. The two of us still ate the whole thing in like 10 minutes.

1702323227820.jpg
 
So 2.0 version... some changes / lessons learnt:

-If you want intact skin it's easier to just skin the bird first without trying to take any meat off the bones, and just debone later. For this recipe it doesn't matter if everything's seperated anyway, but it makes it easier to pull the skin when the meat is still attached to the bones.
-If you're working in small quantities and using multiple bowls, don't expect them to all weigh the same. Found the reason why my pistacchio was off last time; there's a 27 gram weight difference in my bowls - quite significant when you're measuring stuff in the order of 40-50 grams.
-Changed the contents slightly (all still based on 1 guineafowl); sticking to 50 gram of dried apricot, went for 50 gram of dried cranberries instead of the apple (apple didn't add that much flavor and added too much volume), and toned down the pistachio to 40 grams. Also toasted it first, and cut the pistachio this time instead of trying to split them in halves, last time the pieces were too large. Pistachio is also surprisingly easy to cut, I thought it'd be harder. Kept the 4 confit wild duck legs and upped the thyme a bit since it didn't come through enough last time.
-This time I've skipped on the skin altogether and instead went with an outer layer of dried ham. Should add a bit more flavor and might actually be a lot easier to deal with since it'd allow skipping the whole step of skinning while keeping the skin intact. It also makes it far easier to build a square outter layer.

Results tomorrow, but at least this time I could actually fit the whole thing inside somewhat and the filling felt better to work with; better ratio of meat to non-meat. I'm expecting that I might have to tie it up to fry it off... if that's honestly even needed with the ham.

4b504301-6934-4cf5-ba0a-2180b3ced31c.png
 
I did something much like what JulesCooking did with my thanksgiving turkey this year. The smooth textured, well seasoned farce was worth the effort. It was quite good and I don’t think I’ll go back. I don’t have a food processor either. Do you have a blender? I was able to prepare mine be in the blender but I did have to work quickly and carefully to blend everything evenly before it got warm, and I was careful to remove any stringy tendons that could wrap around the blender spindle.
Guinea hen sounds like a great direction for this, the first time I saw/tasted a balotine was a Guinea hen one.
Happy holidays and happy cooking
 
I didn't think of is but I do have a cheap blender somewhere in the basement. Not sure it'd actually work... could imagine it lacks torque to properly cut the meat. Maybe I could do it with a Bamix? It actually comes with a meat knife that I never used. :D

Part of the reason I strayed from the recipe is that I also wanted to go towards the lighter fruitier side. That was partially motivated by the rest of the menu though.
I have to say though that my manual method of just cutting it very finely (a bit like a tartar) and then kneading it through with some salt and then leaving the whole thing wrapped up overnight worked quite well. It's a bit of work but I was happy with the result, even if it might look a tad more rustic.
 
I didn't think of is but I do have a cheap blender somewhere in the basement. Not sure it'd actually work... could imagine it lacks torque to properly cut the meat. Maybe I could do it with a Bamix? It actually comes with a meat knife that I never used. :D
Before I bought a proper food processor, I used the food processor attachment for my Kenwood Chef to make emulsified sausages. It works passably well, even though it is a bit slow and tends to warm the farce more than is ideal. Make sure you add any water the recipe calls for in the form of crushed ice, to keep things cold, and work in small batches (no more than 0.75 l). For small amounts and just the occasional use, that's good enough.

Alternatively, put the meat twice through a 3-mm plate with a meat grinder, chilling in between passes to keep things as close to freezing point as possible. Absolut temperature limit is 12–13 ºC; if you go above that, you risk smearing the fat and the emulsion breaking. You can get decent results that way, too.
 
I didn't think of is but I do have a cheap blender somewhere in the basement. Not sure it'd actually work... could imagine it lacks torque to properly cut the meat. Maybe I could do it with a Bamix? It actually comes with a meat knife that I never used. :D

Part of the reason I strayed from the recipe is that I also wanted to go towards the lighter fruitier side. That was partially motivated by the rest of the menu though.
I have to say though that my manual method of just cutting it very finely (a bit like a tartar) and then kneading it through with some salt and then leaving the whole thing wrapped up overnight worked quite well. It's a bit of work but I was happy with the result, even if it might look a tad more rustic.
Yeah honestly what you made looks really gorgeous and yummy in its own right.
The cream and eggs emulsified in the farce gives a different kind of moistness that’s luxurious though. You might be right about the cheaper blender not working, too. I almost overheated my vitamix trying to make my farce. If the bamix is powerful enough to handle it that would come with the advantage of being able to blend in a container over ice, which would work great to keep things cool.
On a side note, today I found a Guinea hen at the market and, inspired by my thanksgiving success with turkey as well as this thread, I will do a Guinea hen balotine for Christmas.
 
Minor 'after action' on the last test run:
Was quite happy with the result. The filling with dried apricot and dried cranberries worked better, just like lowering the pistacchio amount and toasting + cutting it more finely made it much less 'big bland chunky'. The serrano on the outside also was a succes; taste wise it's more interesting than just using the skin, and it simplifies the whole process a lot. After the sous-vide you can just dry it off and fry it for like a minute or 2 in a frying pan and it comes out great. I half-expected to have to tie it after the sous-vide to keep the ham from coming apart but this wasn't necessary at all.

Only real downside is that the stuffing was still a tad too big (so you don't have fillet covering all around) but that's not really a big deal. It would probably fit just right if I left out the wild duck confit but I think it might turn out too bland without them, so that's the recipe I'll go with.

Went with a new version of the raspberry sauce; 250 grams of raspberries, 1,5-2 tea spoons of 'speculaaskruiden' (probably known as christmas spice anywhere else), and about 2 teaspoons of sugar. The sugar is mostly to taste, just like the spices. Just let it simmer until it's a pulp, then push it through the finest sieve you have to get a smooth sauce. It's a bit of work to get it through but it combines really well; just don't use too much of it.

Was quite happy with the results so this is what I'll go with for christmas. I'm sure if you wanted you could still improve upon this, but I don't really have time to fiddle more this week, and it's definitly 'good enough'.
I'll also be making 2. Guineafowls aren't that big and this thing is surprisingly light. Even with just 3 people we ate through the whole thing in no time since it's quite light (especially if you combine it with just a salad). You get about 10 generous slices out of it, but since the diamater is rather small you'll want at least 2 slices per person even for a small dish.

Crappy phone picture just to prove that the story wasn't all fantasy:

1702901998671.jpg
 
Last edited:
Before I bought a proper food processor, I used the food processor attachment for my Kenwood Chef to make emulsified sausages. It works passably well, even though it is a bit slow and tends to warm the farce more than is ideal. Make sure you add any water the recipe calls for in the form of crushed ice, to keep things cold, and work in small batches (no more than 0.75 l). For small amounts and just the occasional use, that's good enough.

Alternatively, put the meat twice through a 3-mm plate with a meat grinder, chilling in between passes to keep things as close to freezing point as possible. Absolut temperature limit is 12–13 ºC; if you go above that, you risk smearing the fat and the emulsion breaking. You can get decent results that way, too.
Joke's on you for thinking I have a proper mixer or meat grinder. ;)
I think you can make a farce or emulsion with just about any of the big devices, it's just that I have none of them. :D

But these kind of more elaborate christmas meals are really the main thing I could ever see myself buying it for. Duxelle is a similar piece of work I really would rather hand off to a machine.

Hadn't ever considered the issue of warming. That's the advantage of the filling I have here; since it's almost like a minced meat mix, without any added cream or anything it's not an emulsion that can break. And the end result is tight enough that I really feel no desire to add any extra binders.
Still, cutting it by hand you can see that it still comes out chunky. Maybe next time I'll put the legs in the freezer for a bit to firm them up to make it easier to cut them finely.
 
Was a succes again executing it at christmas. Just a short verison of the recipe in case anyone ever cares to try a repeat or wants to use it as a starting point for inspiration:

Proportion per roulade; I doubled on roulades for our 7 person meal, same with the sauce. They're surprisingly light. Also, I'm not sure there's an easy way to properly execute this without a sous-vide; would probably come out a lot drier.

For the sauce:
-250 grams of frozen raspberries
-about 1,5-2 tea spoons of ground christmas spice (really just to taste)
-about 1,5-2 tea spoons of brown sugar (again, really just to taste, but you need some to brighten it up)

Throw the fruits in a saucier or saucepan on the lowest heat you have, just let it go for a while until it slowly reduces to a pulp, add the spices and sugar to taste. Then work it through the finest sieve you have. Sieve size matters because otherwise you still get half the pits and it won't be smooth.
You can also do this with other berries / spices / herbs, the process is the same.
I did not find adding stock to be of benefit in earlier attempts; it actually reduces the raspberry flavor too much and gives it a sort of 'identity crisis'.
Don't overdo the amount of sauce since it easily overpowers the roulade.

For the roulade:
-1 whole guineafowl
-about 4 legs of wild duck leg confit; for domesticated duck you'd go for 1 or 2 legs
-50 grams dried apricot
-50 grams dried cranberries
-40 grams pistacchios (this is 40 grams after shelling)
-dry cured ham; you tend to need at least 10 slices, I always make sure I have some extra. I use serrano because I'm a cheapskate but parmaham would work great too
-fresh thyme; for some reason it doesn't come through that much so I had to use like 10-15 sprigs to really notice it.

You want to plan ahead a bit so you're not crosscontaminating your entire kitchen and don't have your meat out of the fridge too long. So I prefer to set up my rolling station first. You want the biggest / widest roll of cling film you can find; I always set it up so I have a big board and I put the clingfilm behind so I can just pull it out and cut it off. Get some bowls ready (one big one to mix the filling)
I also cut all the filling ingredients first. So the fruits I cut into a fine brunoise; I really went with just a few mm squared, though you could probably go larger if you wanted to make your life easier. The pistacchios I roasted, then cut it all up a bit so it's not too chunky.
The confit legs are also easy to pluck ahead of time.

Then for the guineafowl; you don't need the skin with this version, so it doesn't have to remain intact. The breast + as much of the first wing limb you take off the carcass, take the wingbone out, and you slam it flat in some cling film. It's not a problem if you have a few different parts.
Season on both sides.

The legs / thighs you take off the carcass and bone them out. Try to take the worst of the sinews out, but don't sacrifice too much meat to do it. The resulting fillets you slice as finely as you can (a bit like a tartar). This is easier if you throw them in the freezer for a bit so they're really cold.
Weigh your bowl empty so you can start from 0, add the sliced legs, do the math on the extra fruits & nuts and add about 1,5% salt (for me that was usually around 6-8 gram). Don't include the confit legs because they're already seasoned. Add black pepper to taste and the thyme, add the shredded confit legs, then knead it through a bit (almost like kneading bread though). It will get a bit sticky after a while and this is what binds it together later on. Then add the rest of the filling and mix it up.

Then it's just a matter of assembling and rolling it up. You roll out a big layer of cling film, then you add a layer of overlapping serranoham, you layer the pieces of breast fillet on top of that (make sure it's a nice even layer), and you then create a 'sausage' of filling on top of that. Then you just roll it up using the cling film, it's a lot like rolling a wellington. Try to get all the air out, then roll it up real tight (there's plenty of good YT videos on this) and tie up the ends. I always make sure I have enough overlap on all the ends and to at least do a double or triple layer to make sure it doesn't leak. Throw it in the fridge over night (yes you do all this the day before).

On the day itself, throw it in a 65 degrees celcius sous-vide for 2 hours. To finish, unwrap, dry it off, and fry in a frying pan real quick in generous amount of butter just to get a bit of browning on the outside - takes just a couple of minutes, the serrano goes really fast. For me it had always set well enough that I didn't have to tie it up.

Caveats:
-Because I add the confit legs the filling is actually slightly too big, so you don't get full coverage with the fillet. Personally I think it's worth it because the filling is more interesting, but if you want a 'perfect fit', you either put less filling, or don't add the confit legs.
-You can do this of course with normal chicken or any other bird and a million other flavorings / aromatics / additions. But if you can get it guineafowl has better flavor than almost any chicken you'll be able to find, while still being really accessible in flavor.
-I found rolling in serrano easier than trying to keep the skin intact, and flavor wise I acutally prefer it. It's also much easier to get a nice texture on the outside; after SV the skin gets wet anyway so it's way more work to dry it out and get it crispy.
-These are surprisingly light to eat. So in a 5 course meal I made 2 of these for 7 people, and it basically vaporized on people's plates. Even with just 2 people you can finish 1 roulade surprisingly easily.
-There's no binder or anything. Totally not needed if you knead the leg meat a bit with the salt; it firms up well enough.

My accompanying salad - that worked well enough I figured I'd add it, but just about any 'fresh' and somewhat fruity salad would work:
-dressing of fresh lemon (juice + zest) + mango syrup (I use the stuff from Monin). If you can't get the mango syrup then lemon + honey would work too. Just mix it to taste until it feels balanced enough.
-spinach
-conference pears - though other pears would work too
-fennel
-mango

I always take out the biggest stems from the spinach and cut it through a bit because it's better for mouthfeel. Pears are peeled quartered and cut to pieces. The fennel I always cut really finely otherwise it gets too chewy. For mango you can actually use frozen, you just have to defrost it in time and cut it up a bit, but at least over here quality is good enough to use in salad.
Quantities is really to taste but you want to keep it a bit balanced so it's not a complete fruit salad.

b31f2e80-b643-4b19-a8b5-67d4d916b23d.jpg
 
Does Turchetta count? after years of threatening to try it this year I bought a Turkey breast and made Turchetta and also made 4 turkey thighs confit. Big hit with the crew, just no leftovers...
 
I guess? I mean you can make it as simple or complicated as you want, I think the definition of roulade is pretty loose. :D

Results of some other recent experiments:
-I tried a roulade with duxelle and cured ham (basically a chicken wellington without pastry). While it's tasty enough to not be a total failure I don't really think it's worth the bother; the duxelle tends to overwhelm the meat so it's not like the match made in heaven when you do it with red meat.
-I tried a standard Pepin style roll-up but in the other direction, so instead of folding it lengthwise where you basically get a long sausage with breast meat first, then leg meat, I folded the leg meat inwards from the bottom so you get a long sausage with both kinds of meat in each slice.
It sort of works... but the it's not really ideal. It doesnt really stay together as easily and wants to come apart so you really have to tie it up; if you just clingfilm it and SV the thing it will still want to come apart. It also doesn't look anywhere near as good and is just a lot more annoying to roll up. So I think if you want 'the whole bird in each slice' you're best off just taking the whole thing apart like I ended up doing in my christmas roulade.

-Something I still have to test myself, but if you're taking stuff apart anyway and if for example you don't have a SV or want to cook it in the oven I think it'd make sense to try to get tigh meat on the outside. Traditionally most of these roulade preparations have you turn the legs into farce and keep the breasts on the outside, and while this does simplify assembly, it doesn't necessarily make sense to put the cut of meat that's most sensitive to overheating on the outside and the parts that do well at higher cooking temps on the inside...
Legs make better farce, but then maybe we should just make roulades with only disassembled legs instead of whole birds. Rolling it up in a nice cured ham was much more practical (and actually tastier) than using the skin from a whole bird anyway. It's probably more economical too.
 
Back
Top